Finite element analysis of meniscal anatomical 3d scaffolds: implications for tissue engineering

L. Moroni, F.M. Lambers, W. Wilson, C.C. Donkelaar, van, J.R. Wijn, de, R. Huiskes, C.A. Blitterswijk

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Solid Free-Form Fabrication (SFF) technologies allow the fabrication of anatomical 3D scaffolds from computertomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) patients’ dataset. These structures can be designed and fabricatedwith a variable, interconnected and accessible porous network, resulting in modulable mechanical properties, permeability,and architecture that can be tailored to mimic a specific tissue to replace or regenerate. In this study, we evaluatedwhether anatomical meniscal 3D scaffolds with matching mechanical properties and architecture are beneficial formeniscus replacement as compared to meniscectomy. After acquiring CT and MRI of porcine menisci, 3D fiber-deposited(3DF) scaffolds were fabricated with different architectures by varying the deposition pattern of the fibers comprising thefinal structure. The mechanical behaviour of 3DF scaffolds with different architectures and of porcine menisci was measuredby static and dynamic mechanical analysis and the effect of these tissue engineering templates on articular cartilagewas assessed by finite element analysis (FEA) and compared to healthy conditions or to meniscectomy. Results show that3DF anatomical menisci scaffolds can be fabricated with pore different architectures and with mechanical propertiesmatching those of natural menisci. FEA predicted a beneficial effect of meniscus replacement with 3D scaffolds in differentmechanical loading conditions as compared to meniscectomy. No influence of the internal scaffold architecture wasfound on articular cartilage damage. Although FEA predictions should be further confirmed by in vitro and in vivo experiments,this study highlights meniscus replacement by SFF anatomical scaffolds as a potential alternative to meniscectomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
JournalThe Open Biomedical Engineering Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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